John Wesley Powell navigated the Colorado River in 1869 and 1872, charting unmapped portions of the United States. Several years later, the Mormon Church formed the San Juan Mission to colonize this rugged portion of Southeastern Utah.

They were already months behind schedule when 250 hardy souls with horses, cattle and 80 wagons were confronted by a hair-raising passage to the Colorado, 2,000 feet below - later named "Hole in the Rock."Following prodigious work, the band descended the narrow canyon on Jan. 26, 1880, climbing out through what is known as Lake Powell's Cottonwood Canyon.

That courageous milestone in Mormon history has been marked the past five years from Lake Powell's Wahweap and Bullfrog marinas and will be commemorated this year on the actual anniversary date - Jan. 26.

Programs on Jan. 25 will be held by Stan Bronson at Wahweap and author Lamont Crabtree at Bullfrog. Bronson, a historian, lecturer and entertainer from Bluff, will also present the Jan. 26 program near Hole in the Rock.

Cost for the boat tour, lunch and program is $43, with departure from Wahweap at 7:30 a.m. and from Bullfrog at 8 a.m. Children under 12 are free. Boats are enclosed and can be heated if the weather is brisk.

Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas has developed a "package" price of $68 per person, double occupancy, for lodging, lodge program and the boat tour/lunch/program. Since price is $87.75. Additional room nights are $44.75 single and $50 double.

Boulder-strew Hole in the Rock is easily visible from boat 28 miles downlake from Bullfrog Marina and 66 miles uplake from Wahweap. Hundreds of history buffs and Mormon descendants climb it every year,.

After conquering the crossing on Jan. 26, the San Juan Mission complete its 290-mile journey on April 6, 1880, by founding Bluff City, Utah.

- For reservations, call 1-800-528-6154.